On 8th June, Advocate attended the 2024 Bar Conference, where the Sydney Elland Goldsmith Award for Lifetime Achievement in Pro Bono was presented to this year’s winner - Christopher Naish – by the Lady Chief Justice.

The Bar Council Conference high res 116

Pictured: Christopher Naish saying a few words upon receiving his award at the 2024 Bar Conference.

It was a privilege to attend this year’s Bar Conference (#BarConf24) held by the Bar Council, where the Lady Chief Justice, Baroness Carr of Walton-on-the-Hill, presented the Lifetime Achievement in Pro Bono Award to this year’s deserving winner, Christopher Naish, who is now retired from Magdalen Chambers.

Our many congratulations to Christopher Naish for winning this award. When presenting the award, the Lady Chief Justice said:

Those who know this barrister describe him as humble. He underestimates the huge positive impact that his pro bono work has had on so many, which is why he is the stand-out winner for this award.”

The Lifetime Achievement in Pro Bono Award is part of the annual Bar Pro Bono Awards.

Christopher Naish was called to the Bar in 1980. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to legal aid family work. When Christopher was Head of his Chambers, he ensured that a commitment to publicly funded work was written into the Chambers’ constitution, spurred on by his belief that being a barrister is a public service.

Since retiring, Christopher has volunteered with the pro bono Community Law Clinic at the University of Exeter. He devoted a year’s worth of his time to volunteering, a significant amount of time for the clinic, where he carries out a range of activities from assisting students with drafting advice letters to preparing informal guides to various family law proceedings.  He is someone that both supervisors and students turn to for advice and support, and having him part of the team has enabled the clinic to assist many more people in need of legal support.

Upon receiving the award, Christopher said:

When I was called to the Bar in 1980, legal aid was available for a wide range of civil and family cases. Since 2013 when the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act came into force, we have all had to be prepared to undertake pro bono work whether by supporting the excellent work of Advocate, or continuing to represent existing clients who can no longer afford representation.

I have no doubt that there are many more deserving of this award than me. But in accepting it I am pleased to have the opportunity to mention the project I have been involved with since retiring from the Bar - the Access to Justice Clinic run by the staff and 3rd year students at Exeter University - which provides initial advice for a range of issues for clients across Devon and hopefully inspires the lawyers of tomorrow about the value of pro bono work.”

Thank you to the Bar Council for hosting the presentation of the award at the Bar Conference.

Read more about the Bar Conference.

See the full list of winners for the 2024 Bar Pro Bono Awards.